Uncle Andy and Aunt Nancy
In our story – “Without a Country” – Uncle Andy and Aunt Nancy Townsend lived about a mile up the valley from Will and Suzanne. Andy ran a grist mill. He ground corn into cornmeal. Most of the folks in these mountain regions were subsistence farmers. They rarely went to a store. They grew what they ate. Since everyone in the valley ate cornbread on a daily basis, cornmeal was a necessity in every cabin. Andy and Nancy had frequent visitors as their neighbors and kin brought sacks of corn to be ground on a regular basis. As the neighbors traded stories, Andy and Nancy got regular updates to stories coming from all around Valle Crucis. In some ways, they were the radio, TV and internet all wrapped into one. Head to the grist mill and you just might learn something about whose having a baby or something about the war.
Andy and Nancy Townsend were aunt and uncle to Suzanne Lusk Clark and here sister Kate Lusk on her mother’s side. Every now and again the Townsends would walk down the valley to visit Jeremiah and Mary Ann Clark, Will’s mother and father. The photo above captures one such occasion. This was a time when neighbors were typically some sort of kin (or kin of kin). Every visit was an important social time and it helped families to keep close to loved ones. And, as the Civil War heated up, the visits also helped families to cope with the pain of loss.